Cumberland is ranked eighth in the NAIA men’s tennis coaches’ preseason top 25 poll released this week by the national office.
The Bulldogs reached the quarterfinals at last year’s NAIA National Tournament and return five letterwinners from that squad, including All-Americans Pedro Rodrigues and Antonio Manual Marcelo.
Marcelo was named a first team NAIA All-American and garnered All-America honors from the ITA last season as well. This fall the Cascais, Portugal, native won four matches in the ITA Southeast Regional, including a victory over teammate Pablo Borrero, before falling to Ariez Heshaam from the University of the Cumberlands in the semifinals.
Marcelo has compiled a 36-7 singles record and 41-14 doubles mark in two-plus seasons at CU, including 17-2 in dual match singles and 30-8 in dual match doubles outings.
Rodrigues earned second team NAIA All-America accolades last year while posting a 15-6 singles mark and 19-7 doubles record for the Bulldogs. The Batalha, Portugal, native has collected 44 career singles victories and 47 career doubles wins after enrolling in January 2011.
Pablo Borrero was 20-3 in singles and 20-4 in doubles for the Bulldogs last season, while Andres Burgos registered a 15-6 singles mark and 12-9 doubles record in 2012-13 at CU.
Cumberland will look to newcomers Diogo Soares and Garry Tokas to fill out the lineup, one that finished 19-5 last season, defeating Mobile and Bethel in the national tournament before falling to eventual national champion Auburn Montgomery.
Women ranked 18th in first NAIA poll
Cumberland is ranked 18th in the NAIA women’s tennis coaches’ preseason top 25 poll released this week by the national office.
The Bulldogs posted a 14-7 dual match mark last season, reaching the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in five years.
Fifth-year head coach Bill McCormick returns four letterwinners from last year’s squad, including second team All-American Angelica Sepulveda
The Bucaramanga, Colombia, native finished 17-6 in singles and doubles last season for the Bulldogs, including 15-5 in dual matches in both. She earned Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year honors as well.
Sophomore Antea Dedić compiled a 14-6 singles mark and 16-4 doubles record after enrolling in January, while junior Alena Gizdić posted nine wins in singles and a 14-5 doubles mark for CU. Senior Tais Lacerda Bezerra contributed seven singles and six doubles victories last season as well.
Cumberland placed second in the Mid-South regular season and conference tournaments and lost to SCAD-Atlanta in the first round of last year’s national Tournament. The Bulldogs will open the season Feb. 21 at Belmont.